Even More on Inclusivity

While learning about TEI and Omeka this week, I have been thinking, still, about how to make DH inclusive to others. This week my reading was full of technical terms that had me repeating”Huh?” rather often. How can we make technical discussions, like the one we will have about TEI, accessible to others who doubt DH’s usefulness? I do not have an answer to this question yet, but here are my thoughts so far. My first thought is simply that these technical discussions don’t always have to be so technical. For example, when discussing TEI with those who are less technically inclined, we can focus on its goals and purpose rather than the way it achieves these goals. The goals of sustainability and preservation are ones that most humanists should be able to relate to and support. The main problem I see with this idea is that avoiding the technical terms might be akin to stripping the digital out of digital humanities. At the same time, I think that this technique could be useful in the beginning of discussions about DH, although the technical application would certainly have to be brought back in at some point. I imagine it as a first introduction to a new friend, you don’t reveal all the gritty details about your life in that first meeting. Instead, you give an “overview” of yourself and save the technicalities of your life story for later. In all honesty, I don’t know if I agree with this approach, but I hope it is food for thought and discussion. What do you think? How do we make DH accessible to the non-technical humanists?

  • Katie Gandy

    Yes, we’re graduate students … so we should know how to handle difficult texts… but if we’re trying to make DH appealing…
    I agree with you, April.  It might help to teach the vocabulary (“technical terms”)explicitly, from the get-go.  Or to have some type of “graphic organizer” to help us understand the content of these articles.  Maybe including a vocab guide along with an outline of sorts could better prepare us when delving into the material, and help us ultimately with comprehension.